Bukomansimbi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Bukomansimbi Cooperative Union has developed a direct farms management system to boost the production of coffee.
The new farm management model is an alternative farming practice where the farmer entrusts the management of their coffee plantations to a cooperative society and only waits to share the proceeds at the end of the season.
Sowedi Sserwadda, the chairperson of Kibinge Coffee Farmers Cooperative society which operates in Bukomansimbi district says the model was introduced as an innovation aimed at increasing coffee production in the area.
He says that the model comes in as a response to the many coffee farmers in the area, who are failing to physically attend to their coffee gardens hence failing to produce reasonable seasonal harvests.
Sserwadda explains that besides absentee farmers, the cooperative is also targeting to support older farmers and those finding difficulties in taking care of their plantations, which has affected the quality and volumes of coffee harvests from their gardens.
He says the cooperative has piloted the model for the last two years, and have now enrolled sixty farmers onto it after proved to be viable.
Sserwadda adds that the model will also help in eliminating exorbitant money lenders whom he says have been compromising the quality of coffee by prompting rushed harvesting of unripe coffee beans and inappropriate post-harvest handling among farmers who they give credit.
He says they are also looking at the model as an appropriate way of promoting improved coffee farming practices in the area, explaining that farmers enrolled on it are expected to obtain the proper farm management skills and enough financial capacity to independently operate by the time the plantations fully revert to them.
Sserwadda reveals that the intervention was prompted by the need to eliminate unscrupulous brokers and middlemen from the coffee value and supply chain, arguing that these are known of paying less attention to quality, hence affecting the market price.
Aloysius Nsereko, one of the farmers that have enrolled on the new farm management model is optimistic that it will also help fix the challenge of lack of agriculture extension workers in the area; one of the key factors affecting commercial coffee farming in the area.
According to the Comparative Coffee Export performance report of 2020/21 by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA, Kibinge Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society in Bukomansimbi district contributed a total of 1,280 bags of 60kgs, to the country’s general coffee export of 2,289,880 bags, recorded by February this year.